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[buhg-uh-boo] /ˈbʌg əˌbu/
noun, plural bugaboos.
something that causes fear or worry; bugbear; bogy.
Origin of bugaboo
1730-40; earlier buggybow. See bogy, boo Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bugaboo
  • Because of that old museum curator's bugaboo: ultraviolet light.
  • Now, free parking is a favorite bugaboo of a certain strain of microeconomists and economically minded commentators.
  • As always, the bugaboo is lift, since every additional measure of weight requires a vast addition of volume to hold gas.
  • Next, the population explosion is also turning out to be a bugaboo.
  • The conversion of handwriting into text has long been a bugaboo for tablets and their progenitors.
  • Instead, let's worry about the old bugaboo of drugs and gangs, that hundred-carat headline.
  • The service is also the perfect foil for a bugaboo of mobile devices: saving files.
  • The irrigation needed to keep parks green is another bugaboo.
  • Recharging, of course, is the big bugaboo of electric cars.
  • But her detachment is quite different from our contemporary bugaboo, alienation.
British Dictionary definitions for bugaboo


noun (pl) -boos
an imaginary source of fear; bugbear; bogey
Word Origin
C18: probably of Celtic origin; compare Cornish buccaboo the devil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bugaboo

1843, earlier buggybow (1740), probably an alteration of bugbear (also see bug (n.)), but connected by Chapman ["Dictionary of American Slang"] with Bugibu, demon in the Old French poem "Aliscans" from 1141, which is perhaps of Celtic origin (cf. Cornish bucca-boo, from bucca "bogle, goblin").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bugaboo



Something that frightens or defeats one; bugbear; hobgoblin; bogy

[1820s+; probably fr Bugibu, a demon cited in the Old French poem Aliscans, of 1141]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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